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Amoeba Parasite Kills Second U.S. Child This Month- Tells what to look out for

Posted by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 10:30 AM
  • 9 Replies

A nine-year-old Virginia boy has become the second child in the U.S. to die this month after being infected by a dangerous freshwater amoeba, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday.

The boy, identified by family members as Christian Strickland, died Aug. 5. An autopsy found the death had been caused by primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, which occurs after the amoeba enters the brain.

The Richmond boy's death comes roughly a week after Florida girl Courtney Nash, 16, was killed by the same parasite, which is commonly found in lakes and rivers.

Christian's mother, Amber Strickland, said he had been dunked in an unidentified body of water during a fishing camp he attended the week before he died. She told the Times-Dispatch she believes that is when he took in the contaminated water.

"He went from playing video games to being brain dead," she said.

The disease, which cannot be transmitted person-to-person, spreads rapidly and usually results in death within days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials say that while the amoeba is rare—with just 32 infections in the U.S. from 2001 to 2010—it does increase in summer months when the water temperature rises.

Christian's death marked the first amoeba death in Virginia since 1969.

According to the Mayo Clinic Website, Naegleria infection begins within one to two weeks of exposure to the amoeba, and symptoms can include a change in the sense of smell or taste, fever, sudden headache, nausea, vomiting, confusion and loss of balance. The symptoms can progress rapidly and typically lead to death within three to seven days.

Anyone who experiences these symptoms after swimming should seek medical attention immediately.

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by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 10:30 AM
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by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 10:31 AM

It hasn't rained in forever, so that means the lakes and rivers are stagnant, if there's no freshwater getting to it..We wont go with in 10 feet of the water, and we live on the water..I'm more worried about bacterial meningitis

by René on Aug. 17, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Very scary.  Yet another reason for me to resist the kids swimming in lakes.   Very scary indeed.

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver




by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 10:42 AM

 Its likely due to the lack of rain.  Waters have been so stagnant lately, at least in lakes adn ponds. Right now, if you're going to go swimming in somethings besides a pool, save it for the ocean or rivers. 

by Ruby Member on Aug. 17, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Thx for sharing storm. Was not aware of this. That poor mother~


           Orkut Scraps - Angel

by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 12:14 PM
I've heard of this in freshwater lakes in the Southwest, but wasn't aware this was the case in other parts of the country. Thanks for posting!
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by Rachel on Aug. 17, 2011 at 12:42 PM

YIKES! (on a personal note, I do not/will not swim in ponds, rivers or lakes. I have always been deathly afraid of water I cannot see the bottom. This just reinforces that fear! lol!)

by Bronze Member on Aug. 17, 2011 at 1:32 PM

I've been told from my biology professor that if there's been a lot of rain, to NOT go swimming b/c of something with the sewage treatment plants...and that's why the e.coli count is higher after a big rain. 

by Christy on Aug. 17, 2011 at 10:37 PM

Well I do have to be wary of my own swimming pool from this it has had a rough year trying to keep it in balance and considering even with the filter and all frogs still seem to love it.

by on Aug. 18, 2011 at 12:27 AM


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